FAA cutting funding to Space Coast Airport control tower



BREVARD COUNTY, Fla. - The Federal Aviation Administration is cutting funding to a control tower at Space Coast Regional Airport Sunday.

But the Titusville-Cocoa Airport Authority will foot the $60,000 a month bill to keep it operational.

Hundreds of Bristow Air Academy students take to the sky every day from Space Coast Regional Airport. Military and international pilots get certified there.

That could all go away if the traffic control tower had to close.

"Under no circumstances are we going to allow a lapse of service," said Titusville Cocoa Airport Authority CEO Michael Powell.

The Airport Authority estimates the flight academy brings $100 million to the area every year.

Students can't get certified without the tower and the academy could move somewhere else.

The Airport Authority's biggest concern is safety.

Students and professionals using the same congested airspace are concerned that without guidance there could be crashes.

"Some of these aircraft are being flown by students who only have 20-25 hours in the air from start," Bristow Academy General Manager Nick Mayhew said.

The Airport Authority plans to pay for seven controllers on a month-to-month basis. Powell said it should be able to keep it up for about a year without cutting other services.
If federal or state governments don't eventually step in, it will have to make cuts somewhere to keep its controllers.

"We're looking at businesses, we're looking at local governments to see if those folks can help on any level," Mayhew said.